Fun Indoor Sensory Activities for Children and Vacation Bible School Teacher Recovery Weekend

What a week! This past Sunday through Wednesday was Vacation Bible School at the church my husband and I attend. It’s primarily geared towards children. Sometimes I think is a little odd, because VBS was for ALL ages at the church I attended growing up. Anyways…my husband and I had the awesome opportunity to pour some love on a group of six and a half 2 and 3 year old kiddos. I say six and a half because one little girl preferred to be with her parents more than with us! But that’s completely normal at this age range. The age range of 2 to 3 years is very wide. We had a newly minted 24 month old all the way to a 47 month old.

Developmental milestones for 2 year olds

Developmental milestones for 3 year olds

We spent the first day trying to establish a routine and a little law and order. I didn’t think it went so well, but my husband thought it was great because no one got hurt. So that was our teachers’ motto: “No one was injured!”

Because we live in Texas, it’s almost always sunny (and hot). I wanted to make sure that we got the kids outside for at least 15-30 minutes each night. Unfortunately, Monday morning started off with heavy rain and thunderstorms. There was a lot of flash flooding. It took me almost an hour to get to work when it usually only take 15 minutes or less. I knew I needed to find some more indoor activities to pass the time at VBS that night, just in case it was still raining. After searching the internet, I came across some great activities at Hands On As We Grow. It’s great because the site is well organized so that you can choose activities by age range. These are the activities we decided to do.

Fun activity with lines of colored tape

Supplies: colored tape, scissors (affiliate links)

  • Place lines of tape on the floor in different patterns or paths. We had a blue straight line, a red curvy line, and a yellow zig zag line.
  • Give the children various tasks to perform on the lines. Walk, hop, jump over, walk backwards, crawl, etc.
  • Outcome: Success! The kids loved it. Even it they were playing with something else, they would ask us if they could go jump or walk for a while. The classroom was a little small but we had an area set up near the door for this activity. The tape was still in great condition when we took it up on the last night.
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Sensory bags

Supplies: Plastic bags with zip lock, shaving cream, hair gel, heavy duty tape, food coloring (optional), and various buttons, beads, shapes, googly eyes, plastic letters, etc. (affiliate links)

  • Fill the zippered bag with shaving cream or hair gel and the objects of your choosing.
  • Zip the bag closed. Re-enforce all sides of the bag with tape to prevent leaks.
  • Show the children what they can do with the bag: move the shapes, spell words, group shapes and colors, etc. Provide tasks for them to do with the bags.
  • Outcome: Partial success. All of the kids were disappointed that they couldn’t open the bag to feel the gel and shaving cream. However, they enjoyed finding the the hidden “treasures” (buttons) in the shaving cream bag. Unfortunately, after 2 days of playing with the bags, they began to leak. It was probably something I did wrong since it put them together in such a hurry. It was great to see how they used problem solving and worked together to move the different shapes.
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My first sensory bag made with clear hair gel and shape manipulatives.

Play-Doh

Supplies: Play-Doh (affiliate link) or homemade play dough (recipe)

  • Let the children have some dough and create anything they choose.
  • Outcome: Success! We divided the children into two groups. Four kids were at the Play-Doh table and the others did free play. I think these kids only think about food! My husband and I ate a lot of pretend cookies and cakes. No one attempted to eat the dough for real. The kids were great helpers cleaning up all the dough from the table and floor.

This weekend my husband and I are planning some games for our Sunday School kids tomorrow. I’m thinking Minute to Win It games. Boys vs. Girls vs. Teachers.

What kinds of indoor activities do you do with your toddlers on rainy or cold days?

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